As visitors stepped into Bangladesh National Museum (BNM) from November 15 to 17, they were greeted with pictures that showcased the beauty of the country, at the photography exhibition and competition, Colors of Bangladesh. The event, organised by UNESCO Dhaka, in partnership with Prito Reza Productions, was supported by the Government of the Republic of Korea. It was inaugurated in the presence of Kim Cheol-Sang, Deputy Chief of Mission, Korean Embassy, Sun Lei, Education Specialist, UNESCO Dhaka, Kizzy Tahnin, Programme Officer for Culture, UNESCO Dhaka, and Prito Reza, photographer and curator.
The goal of the event was to promote the photography industry as a creative and cultural sector in Bangladesh, in light of the UNESCO 2005 Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions, and as a driver for sustainable development. The focus of the exhibition was to highlight the beauty of Bangladesh, in the landscapes, daily lives of the people, and ethnic and religious diversity.
“An online search for Bangladesh usually brings up pictures of floods or the Rohingya refugees, all bearing negativity,” said Prito Reza, who was a judge in the competition and the curator of the event. “We wanted to exhibit the positive aspects of our country - the cultural facet that we’re forgetting and the beauty in the simplicity of our people that we often overlook.”
Other judges of the competition were Munira Morshed Munni, Shafiqul Alam Kiron and Wawi Navarozza. A total of 1,700 entries were submitted for the event, out of which 120 photographs were on exhibit. The photographs at the exhibition were also displayed through digital projector and on canvases. Some pictures were screened through bioscope. They also arranged discussions every day on various issues related to photography.
Another attraction of the exhibition was a wall full of envelopes. On one side, the wall was labelled, ‘Give what you can’ for visitors to write positive messages for other people. The other side read, ‘Take what you need’, for visitors to pick up pleasant and optimistic messeges from others.